Friday, September 14, 2012

It's more than just a cruise to Alaska || Bend Oregon Photographer

Planting Seeds of Memories
Honoring the Past with Eyes to the Future
{originally published in True North Parenting Magazine, June/July 2012}

Have you ever had someone bless you with a gift so huge, you simply didn’t know how to say thank you? Our family adventure to Alaska was just that, but this is not an article about Alaska. It’s not even about how to travel with children. Really – it’s my lesson in appreciation and honoring memories that affects untold generations of our family.

Rushing through life – how often do we take moments to reflect on our past, as well as plant seeds of memories for our children to take into their own future? What memories will churn in their heads as important moments to teach their own children about family, about legacy.

As with many families, ours comes with a rich history. As a child, visits to my mom’s parent’s always included some anecdote of their childhood – some story about Grandpa Miff growing up in Hawaii, or Grandma Nancy’s adventures in Montana. Fortunately, grandpa was a writer & publisher, ahead of his day in terms of computers and published an extensive family history. Setting down in book form, a map of past generations, documented for my children to discover and enjoy. It included the stories I’d always heard about – and now, as an adult, am so grateful he took the time to do it.

What a gift.

When my grandpa passed away, it felt monumental. I think our entire family felt a collective loss of a man who held the key to many pieces of not only our own family’s history – but world history as well. Reading his first-hand account of the Pearl Harbor attacks as a resident of Oahu is a treat for history and WWII buffs alike {If you are interested, read about it here}. How lucky are we to have possession of his memories in a form that we can share with the next generation. It has certainly instilled in me a drive to document my own experiences so my children can share and pass along to their own kids.  No surprise – but it is certainly a driving force in my own journey with photography.

When grandpa’s estate was settled, my mom tucked away a “Travel Fund;” an incredible and lasting gift from Grandma Nancy and Grandpa Miff. It is a way for our generation to create experiences together that will surely live long in the hearts of my brother’s and my children. It’s been tucked away for years, waiting for the cousins to be old enough to really enjoy and appreciate (and remember) our adventures. I never would have guessed our first big trip would reinforce and provide reminders to honor the past, as we create experiences with the next generation.

In sorting through some boxes of family memorabilia last winter, my mother came across not only the journal of her grandmother’s from a 1925 cruise through Southeast Alaska, but also a small packet of souvenir photographs from Sitka – the departure city of our cruise. Not only were we able to create our own modern day memories on this incredible adventure, but we were also able to read through and have the kids imagine their great grandmother Nancy as an 8 year old girl, experiencing the very same thing for herself, and what that journey must have been like in 1925. The journal referenced on several occasions how Nancy received adoring attention from staff and fellow cruisemates alike, and I can’t help but draw the same haunting parallels with our own journey. The five cousins were indeed, adored and cared for by the entire village of our cruise – staff and fellow cruisemates alike.

In front of the Mendenhall Glacier
Reflecting back on the fresh memories of our trip – I love that my mom was able to share a room with her oldest granddaughter, Katie, spy for whales with Max, kayak in a beautiful Alaskan cove with Hannah, and get silly in front of the Mendenhall Glacier with all five cousins. My brother Todd spied a mother bear and cubs with Sam on a Zodiac ride, and my husband and Sarah took pictures of everything in sight. Sister-in-law Beth was always ready with a project for idle hands, and I got to explore tide pools with all of them. I loved observing and photographing each member of our family soak in Lindblad’s Expedition’s Southeast Alaskan adventure. Breakfast and lunch we spread out, visiting and dining with the other guests, but every evening we’d come together at our very own tables for dinner, feast like kings and share our day’s highlights.

Coming home from any vacation can be a bit of an adjustment, trying to hold on to memories and the relaxed pace of being away for a bit. Oftentimes it can feel like the vacation never happened as you jump back into mundane tasks like housecleaning and grocery shopping. For me, for this adventure in particular, I know we’ve just come away from an experience that will, indeed, live long in our family history. And even more endearing, I know my kids and their cousins feel the same way.

Thanks grandma and grandpa. It was worth every penny.  

Our Mother's Day (and my husband's birthday) portrait!

Hiking with our naturalist in the beautiful SE Alaskan coastal terrain 

Perhaps my favorite adventure from the trip - zodiac tour of an ice field at the base of a glacier. Incredible. 

It is tempting to be paralyzed by the prospect of a “forever memory.” I find it important, however, to simply provide the occasion and framework for our family to enjoy – document the adventure through photography & journaling… and share the experience to inspire other families to honor their own sense of history. While I am grateful for our epic journey to Alaska – the time spent sharing time and experiences with my mom, brother and our families could just as easily been accomplished at a weekend retreat, camping in the woods, or overnights at Grandma’s house. Shared experiences are an important aspect of building your family foundation – these common experiences strengthen the bond and connection not only with your own children, but across family ties into aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents. Not a tangled web we’re weaving – but a strong network of experiences & bonds. Take the time to plan seeds of memories with your own family – and be sure to Enjoy. Document. Share.

Here is this article as originally published in the June/July 2012 issue of True North Parenting Magazine (begins on pg. 38):

Thursday, October 13, 2011

California Redwoods - Just a teaser

I've just returned from a family tour through Northern California - and I've much to share about the trip... 

But first (as I'm gathering photos & thoughts for the longer post), a teaser:

Glass Beach - Fort Bragg.

One of the places that is a glimmer in my far-back memories, is visiting the magical Glass Beach as a child. Exploring and finding all sorts of colorful amazing treasures are the memories I hold. I photographed this on the last day of our 5-day march through the Redwoods, and my brother and I were able to bring our children here to explore and find some amazing treasures.

It was magical. To say the least.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Camp Sherman - Our last hurrah...

Before we packed the trailer up for the season, we found one beautifully empty Saturday around which to build a quick getaway.

While we have been to the Wizard Falls Fish Hatchery - we never really did explore the nearby Camp Sherman area. We found the Cold Springs Resort & RV park online, and had a wonderful getaway less than an hour from home.

There are tons of US Forest Service campgrounds, as well as private resorts. You can certainly find something to fit your getaway preferences. Here's a link to the Metolius River Association - with lots of helpful information on the area.

A bucolic sunset as seen from the road leading to our campground.

The Cold Springs Resort office.

What happens when there is idle space in our day.

We were fortunate to book this wonderfully open spot by the creek.

A quick visit to check out the Head of the Metolius River. 

We brought the bikes and wandered along the trails, and happened upon these jumps - much to the Teichrow boys' delight (all 3 of them). Biking photos were shot with the "old" D80 and a kit lens. Not to shabby - eh? Click to enlarge...

Boys and fire. Properly supervised - a kid's dream!

They were quite proud.

Enjoying the fruits of their labor. Are marshmallows considered a fruit?

Monday, September 5, 2011

Backyard Tourist - Central Oregon Adventures

We love living in Bend – it’s an ideal place for many reasons. I’m ashamed to admit, however, that we don’t take advantage of our beautiful back yard as often as we should. I suppose that is fairly common, right? We get caught up in our daily dailies – and it takes a gentle nudge to push us out of our ruts.

Last weekend our gentle nudge was our lovely houseguests – old friends of ours from our days of living in Washington state.  What a perfect excuse to share the beautiful scenery & adventures of Central Oregon.

Don’t feel like you have to do all of these adventures in one weekend – but it DOES make for a good one! Be sure to pack mosquito repellant, sunscreen, an array of layers for temperature changes & lots of food/water! Quick note: most of the links are to the official federal sites. Feel free to comment and ask specific questions!

While I have been to the area before, I'd never driven to Paulina Peak for a personal overview of the crater. It was an ideal way to begin our Newberry tour, as we could get a perspective of the big crater in which we were about to explore. From there, we drove down and hiked the Big Obsidian Flow (amazing), then checked out the hot springs bubbling up at East Lake, and finally checked out Paulina Falls. There are longer hikes in the area, but with the crew we had, thought best to do short & sweet adventures at each stop.

The boys - looking out on Paulina Lake from Paulina Peak.

Paulina Lake, with South Sister and Broken Top peaks in the background. Luckily we were able to see them, despite the many wildfires in the area.

From Paulina Peak - the view over the Big Obsidian flow - with East Lake in the background.

Our hikers - along the short, scenic Big Obsidian Flow hike.

Park at the Hot Springs Boat Launch - walk along the south side of the lake, until you come upon the hot springs, bubbling up from the ground. The level of the lake may determine how easy it is to access the springs, and what they may look like.

This was taken last October - when the lake was a bit lower than last weekend. The minerals in this spring had turned the pool a lovely green. Last weekend, however, the springs were not as colorful - but just as hot and impressive.
Here are the springs in early September, with the lake at a higher level than last October. The water is bubbling like mad.

The view of Paulina Falls (a separate stop at the monument), as seen from half-way to the lower viewpoint. Worth the short hike downhill.

Day 2: Mt. Bachelor Summer Adventure

This day we packed a picnic and headed for the hill! We took the chair lift to Pine Marten Lodge - and enjoyed breathtaking views. I've wanted to do this for several years - and always think of it too late in the season - the summer season ends at Labor Day. Luck was with us - as the views were basically clear of the many wildfires in the surrounding areas.

South Sister and Broken Top are the peaks, with a peek-a-boo of Todd Lake, just below Broken Top's peak - and the colorful green meadows of Sparks Lake to the far left of the photo. You can see the wildfire haze along the horizon to the left.

From the Pine Marten Lodge - we take a short hike uphill to the top of the Northwest Express lift - affording us amazing views - and giving the youngsters a bit of a workout. From the lift we were able to see Elk Lake in its entirety, as well as Hosmer Lake.

My hubby the tour guide - showing off Sparks Lake to the left, and South Sister's peak.

After our mountain top adventure - we send the kids on a memorable sled dog ride with Rachel Scdoris's team of dogs.
Absolutely worth the time - stop by and meet these world class athletes: Rachel Scdoris and her sled dog team. You can even take a summer ride - or come back in the winter for an amazing one-hour tour in the snow!
Our kids loved the adventure - and got to have an amazing, up close experience with world class athletes.

Future sled dog rock star!

The kids wrapped up their mountain adventure by taking a walk through a mountain stream in their skivvies - but we won't share those gems!

Day 3 - Deep in a Cave - and Low and Slow on the River.

The Lava River Cave - this is such a fun adventure! You can rent lanterns there - which is a great idea, but also consider a light source for each of the kiddos in your party - as well as a very bright light to turn on occasionally to view special features.

Heading down.... be sure to wear sturdy shoes for the uneven surfaces you'll be walking along.

At 42 degrees F year round - you'll see your breath for certain! Be sure to dress warm!

It looks unreal - don't forget to shine your light on the cave walls, or you'll miss this amazing, drippy (but hard as a, well... rock), phenomenon.

At the end of the cave - you'll see these striations along the walls. Gorgeous.

Make no mistake - reaching the end of the cave is much easier on the little folks in your life. But worth the adventure! Just about anyone will be crawling - on sometimes hard, sometimes soft, but always damp and dirty sand.

Low and Slow on the River: We wrapped up our Day 3 with the popular float along the Deschutes River after a quick lunch. We put in at Farewell Bend Park - a quick portage along the dangerous (but easily avoidable if you watch the signs) spillway, and took out at Drake Park. We'd shuffled a couple of vehicles ourselves for transportation - but you can utilize the public transportation - Ride the River through Labor Day. Sorry folks - you'll have to wait for pictures – if any. This is a great float - but best when HOT, as the river is very cold.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Chelan - here we come

It's that time of year. The hectic week before we head to Lake Chelan, Washington to meet up with our good friends and enjoy all the lake and Chelan has to offer. It's typically a hectic week - the mayhem getting the house ready for the dog/house sitter... packing, etc. But, to get myself in the mood, I peeked through a few of the photos from one of our early Chelan years - 2008. Max looks so young. 

This was taken just next door to the campground (Lakeshore RV Park), at the city park, just by the lake. 

Okay, off to pack!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Mackenzie River Trail - near Koosah and Sahalie Falls

Last May we camped at Belknap Hot Springs, and enjoyed both soothing relaxation in the hot springs, and a few hiking adventures, including very accessible waterfalls - Koosah & Sahalie Falls. If you're ever in the area - and enjoy beautiful old growth, moss-covered forests, clear rivers and amazing waterfalls, you won't want to miss this adventure. You can spend as little or much time as your day allows - with both easy and extended hikes. There's even a loop that takes you on the opposite side of the river, to enjoy views of the falls from both sides of the river.

At the trail, just off the parking lot - a few stairs, and you're treated to the view below.
We visited in May - at full flow. It was quite impressive - and the water spray kept fogging up my lens!

Sam was just as impressed as I.

A perfect spot for adventures and exploration.

My budding photographer.
They were calm, cool and collected.

My sentiments exactly. This bridge, although plenty sturdy, made my heart skip about 30 beats.